Gallbladder pain can be excruciating, so if you have gallstones, cholecystitis, or any other type of gallbladder disorder, you're going to want fast and effective treatment. Board-certified gastroenterologist Muhammad Naeem, MD, at Advanced Gastroenterology Associates of SA in San Antonio, Texas, specializes in diagnosing and treating gallbladder disorders and carrying out minimally invasive diagnostic tests and treatments. Call Advanced Gastroenterology Associates of SA today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.
A gallbladder disorder is a condition that affects your gallbladder — a hollow organ that sits beneath your liver. Your gallbladder stores the bile produced in your liver, which your body uses to digest fat.
There are many different gallbladder disorders. Ones that are more common include:
Gallstones start off the size of grains of sand, but over time they can grow to be as large as a golf ball. They're made from waste products like undissolved cholesterol and bilirubin (bile pigment). Gallstones can block the bile ducts that carry bile out into your body, causing severe right-side abdominal pain.
Gallstones often lead to attacks of acute cholecystitis (inflammation in the gallbladder). After repeated attacks of acute cholecystitis, chronic cholecystitis can develop. This makes your gallbladder shrink so it can't retain or release bile, a condition known as nonfunctional gallbladder.
Gallstones can sometimes get stuck in the bile ducts or the neck of your gallbladder. This leads to a buildup of bile that distends your gallbladder and causes inflammation. Choledocholithiasis can cause intense abdominal pain with fever, vomiting, and jaundice.
Other gallbladder disorders include:
Disorders affecting your gallbladder can also cause problems in your pancreas and liver. For example, gallstones can move into the pancreatic ducts and block them.
To diagnose your gallbladder disorder, your provider at Advanced Gastroenterology Associates of SA discusses your symptoms with you and goes over your medical history. They also give you a physical exam.
You'll probably need to have blood tests and may need to undergo an X-ray, ultrasound, or hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan. The team specializes in endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), which they can also use to clear gallstones.
One of the main risk factors for developing a gallbladder disorder is being overweight or obese, so making lifestyle changes can tame the symptoms of many of these diseases. If your gallbladder pain is severe, you might need prescription painkillers and anti-inflammatories to control it.
If you have chronic gallbladder pain or frequent attacks of severe pain, or an emergency like choledocholithiasis arises, your provider at Advanced Gastroenterology Associates of SA might need to remove your gallbladder. You can live without a gallbladder, so this approach is an effective and safe way of resolving your symptoms.
The team at Advanced Gastroenterology Associates of SA expertly handles minimally invasive laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery. Call today to find out more or book an appointment online.